Thursday, 13 October 2016

Gardening with Glendale 13 Oct 2016

As always when working out of doors, we hope for dry weather. The forecast though was a bit uncertain and there had been rain earlier in the morning. How lucky we were that by 10a.m the rain had passed  and we were soon working hard.
This session saw Glendale managers and Friends of Mayow Park working to tidy up the fruit bed  and the mini wildflower area in the Triangle.
The first task was to remove the stepping logs in the fruit bed. Many logs had been covered by couch grass and those that were still visible were rotting and slippery. In a very short time they had all been moved to create an invertebrate habitat in a corner by the hedgerow. A robin came to join us with the promise of a feast and a frog or two hopped away as we disturbed their hiding place.  Chris wheeled barrow-loads of woodchip to fill the small craters where the logs had been.
new log pile for invertebrates
camouflaged frog
holes to fill in 
The sitting logs near the holly tree and hedgerow needed some remedial work. Some logs had rotted. This was not a problem and in no time the Glendale team had it sorted.
Let's start with this log
warm work - time to remove jackets
The wild flower meadow was taken on by Sandra who cut down all plant matter from the site. Just as well she is not too squeamish as there were slugs and a frog hidden in  the vegetation.
Wild flower meadow cut

canes that were dug up
raspberry patch
Sue and Dave worked on the raspberry patch, pruning most of the canes and digging up some to allow more light in.

Here are some more photos showing the sitting logs, the team and the large pile of garden waste that was generated. All the garden waste will be taken to a depot for shredding and turning into compost.
Mike was skillfully pruning the wild rose bushes at the apex of the Triangle, at the herb bed closest to the cafe, and very visible to people entering the park. The roses are now full of delicious-looking rose hips for the wild animals  so care was needed not to lop them all off. Mike also pruned the hedgerow along one side of the fruit bed and it looks much better now. 
some of the team
the team again
story circle
job done
large pile of gardening waste
another pile of gardening waste
It was great to have the Glendale team  to help us as the fruit bed had become rather overgrown. While the team were in the park they also chopped some brambles in the bushes as these were beginning to spread onto the path and they also tidied up the tree pits around the row silver birch trees in front of the bowls cabins. The Friends of Mayow Park will organise another volunteer workday next month.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016


Friends of Mayow Park will have a gardening session with some of the Glendale staff on Thursday 13th October 2016. Meet near the cafe from 10am to 1pm.
Stay for the whole session or for a little while.
We have some tools but if you have a trowel or spade for your own use, please bring them.
We don't have any gardening gloves so please bring if you have them.
We intend to tidy up the plant bed where the raspberries are.
We will thin the raspberries and prune them for the winter.
We will create more space in the middle of the area to allow the grass to be cut regularly.
The plum tree and the apple tree will remain and we will mulch around them.
The mini wildflower meadow will be cut for the winter.
Refreshments - biscuits and squash.
For more information contact <>

Monday, 19 September 2016

Green Flag raised 19 September 2016

We learned back in July that Mayow Park was one of a number of Lewisham parks awarded another Green Flag. The judges  visited a few months earlier, inspected the park, spoke to park users as well as Glendale and Lewisham officers. They had to judge against the following criteria:

  • A welcoming place
  • Healthy, safe and secure
  • Clean and well maintained
  • Conservation and heritage
  • Sustainable management
  • Community involvement
  • Marketing and promotion
  • Management and future plans
Thinking about those criteria, the onus is not just on Glendale, the contractors,  to manage the park to a satisfactory level according to their contract with Lewisham Council's Greenscene department but also for them to engage with the community. It is also up to the park-using community to show how we care about the park and are willing to make efforts to make it the friendly place it is. The list of different groups that use the park is long so apologies for missing any group:
  • families with young children
  • people who visit the Cafe 
  • Grow Mayow visitors
  • young people who use the park to meet friends
  • adults using the park for relaxation and socialisation
  • tennis players
  • fitness enthusiasts
  • dog walkers
  • people who choose to walk through the park rather than along roads
  • children's football clubs
  • cricket players
  • wildlife enthusiasts (invertebrates, birds, bats, trees and plants come to mind)

Today, Monday 19th September 2016, was the day the new Green Flag was raised by Glendale officers and staff. Steve, (the maintenance man as he is affectionately known), prepared the new flag and hoisted it, assisted by Chris Thompson and Darren Budden with some of the Friends of Mayow Park  present.

Steve checks the pole is steady
Steve balances on his step ladder to lower the old flag
New flag unfurled 
                                                   Steve carefully attaches new flag    
Chris makes sure the correct flag is being raised
Job done and Steve packs away his step ladder
     Mayow Park  has many regular users who care about the park. Thank you everyone who puts in the effort to make it such a welcoming green space.              

Friday, 16 September 2016

Bat walk on 16th September 2016

The day began with heavy rain and remained damp so there was no certainty the bat walk would go ahead.  Our last bat walk in April was washed out, although everyone enjoyed walking through the park in the rain after dark, so we all wanted to see bats this time. Luckily, by 6 o'clock it was clear the rain clouds were blowing away though the sky remained cloudy.

We met up near the pavilion at 7.15 pm,  had a brief introduction to the bats of Britain, a summary of our route through the park and a reminder of any potential hazards.
The event was led by Dr Iain Boulton.  Iain showed us how to use the bat detectors and off we went.

First stop was the 'balcony' overlooking the bowls green and our bat detectors detected bat activity. As our eyes got used to the dark of the trees and the lighter background of the sky we could see the fast flitting of the bats. Better still was when we moved past the bowls green to the space between the green and the tennis courts. With trees along the back of the Bishopsthorpe gardens behind us, the hedge of the bowls green to our right and a number of older trees around, we saw a number of bat silhouettes sweeping against the night sky. According to the bat detectors, we were watching pipistrelle bats.

Moving on along the path between the orchard and tennis courts we could hear more bat activity and saw some bats flying around above the orchard.

These amazing flying mammals have to work hard now to fatten up before they go into hibernation mode for the winter. And where will they hibernate? The old trees in and around Mayow Park have many hollows and some of these are small enough for bats to roost safely away from disturbance from other tree animals in the park. some of the houses nearby may also provide a suitable habitat under the roof tiles.

Reviewing the evening, Iain guessed that we saw around 5 or 6 pipistrelle bats but it would have seemed more because they swirled to and fro.
There were 27 people in total including 7 younger children.
Iain is looking forward to 2017 and has promised another walk next spring. Thank you Iain for helping us to appreciate some of the wildlife of Mayow Park.

Monday, 29 August 2016

A bat walk for September 2016

There was a bat walk on 2nd April 2016 led by Dr Iain Boulton. It was popular and drew a good crowd of adults and children BUT the steady rain persisted so the bats stayed away. Despite that most people said they enjoyed their time in the park after dark. Bats have been seen flying in the park near the bowls green at dusk so we know they are out there.
After the event, Dr Boulton said he would be willing to lead another walk so . . . we plan to try again on 16th September, from 7.15 pm to 8.30 pm. As before, we will meet by the Mayow Park cafe, close to the main entrance in Mayow Road.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

London National Park City event at Festival Hall in September

Those of us involved with parks and green spaces in London will surely have heard of the campaign to make London a national park city. This is not trying to replicate the rural National Parks model. Instead it wants us to focus and appreciate that around 50% of London is green spaces and blue spaces; parks, nature reserves, woodlands and community gardens, domestic gardens and green spaces around housing estates, rivers, ponds and lakes, canals.
To quote from the blurb on their website: Let's make London the world’s first National Park City. A city where people and nature are better connected. A city that is rich with wildlife and every child benefits from exploring, playing and learning outdoors. A city where we all enjoy high-quality green spaces, the air is clean to breathe, it’s a pleasure to swim in its rivers and green homes are affordable. Together we can make London a greener, healthier and fairer place to live. Together we can make London a National Park City. 
If this has whet your appetite to find out more, then on 21st September there will be a big event ' The Making of a National Park City'. at the Royal Festival Hall at London's South Bank. Tickets range in price from £10 to £30 depending on where you would like to sit plus a booking fee of £1.75
I have bought my ticket and am looking forward to an interesting and enjoyable evening.
It promises to be a great evening. Hosted by comedian Josie Long, there will be guest speakers including designer Wayne Hemingway.  The Bollywood Brass band, artists and poets will provide a range of entertainment. Here is a list of some of the line-up with more to be announced:
Josie Long, comedian
Wayne Hemingway, designer
Dame Fiona Reynolds, campaigner
Andrew Simms, economist
Bollywood Brass Band, musicians
Judy Ling Wong, community activist
Beth Coller, psychotherapist
Simon Jakeman, firefighter
Laila Sumpton, poet
Rifat Batool, headteacher
Dr Tom Coffey, GP
Jasmine Kamal-Pasha, photographer
Mathew Frith, conservationist
Rachel Bradley, sustainability manager
Paul Hamblin, national parks director
Daniel Raven-Ellison, explorer
Charlton Manor Primary, bee keepers
Andy Mitchell, CEO
Charlotte Webster, artist
Chris Romer-Lee, director, Studio Octopi

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Old oak falls July 2016

A member of  Friends of Mayow Park Facebook group posted a message on Friday 22nd July with sad photos about a mature oak tree . One of its major trunks had split and fallen from the main tree. From other comments on that thread, it seems likely that the tree had unexpectedly fallen the evening before around 7.30 pm. Being later in the evening, the park was not busy and luckily no-one was hurt as the tree is near the path that goes past the older children’s play area.
Our Facebook group is very effective at reporting positive or negative happenings in the park which helps to spread the word quickly. The damaged tree was reported to Glendale Lewisham via email the evening of the day it was posted on Facebook. The fallen section looked unsteady but it seemed unlikely that anything would happen on a Friday evening after office hours . 

These photos were taken on the Friday afternoon: 

How good to find out  that first thing the following morning Glendale staff came and draped striped tape around the tree so that people would keep their distance. No tree surgery could take place at that time. Any major works and tree surgery have to be approved by Lewisham’s arboricultural officer and skilled tree surgeons need to be called out so I did not expect much action for days.

On Friday 28th July an arboricultural team from Glendale Arboricultural Services arrived to work on the fallen oak. The team, wearing harnesses and hard hats, skillfully cut up the trunk that had split from the main trunk. They had to cut most of the remaining standing trunk too, as it  was leaning to one side and could become dangerous. 

One of the guys explained that they were aiming to leave much of the main trunk as a 'monolith' i.e. a dead tree left to decay in a standing position to allow it to support a wide range of species that are dependent on decaying wood.
Woodland management can include a standing dead tree. The team made the tree safe by reducing its height . The hope is that the tree will continue to support a variety of animal and plant species that rely on dead wood including fungi, invertebrates, small mammals and birds. As we saw, the team also left some logs close to the tree to encourage invertebrates.
Signs of hope? A young branch still lives on this monolith tree.
The arboricultural contractors showed great care for the tree as well as safety for themselves and park users. As a Friends group we care about creating a range of habitats for the wildlife of the park so we wait to see if the tree will survive, like its near neighbour the 'lightning tree' oak about 20 metres away. Look carefully at the first of these two monolith photos and you should see a small living branch . . . a sign of hope that the tree may survive.

We don’t know the age of the tree but it is likely to have been over 200 years old. Whether is partially grows back or whether it will die, the tree will continue to serve a purpose in the park.